The Festival of the Arts has been a spring mainstay for Oklahoma City since 1967, and this year’s event will be bigger than it’s ever been. Literally.
After its cancellation last year for only the second time in its history (the 1995 festival was scheduled to be held just days after the Alfred P. Murrah Building bombing), expectations are high for this month’s festival and its expanded grounds.
In downtown Oklahoma City’s Bicentennial Park June 22-27, this year’s reemergence will see a few firsts, including its first-ever summer dates, and an eastward expansion towards City Hall. This will not only allow plenty of space for social distancing but also adds more artists and stages than ever, as well as the addition of a food truck pavilion serving up a variety of Oklahoma City’s mobile eats. The length of the festival has been expanded as well, from four to six days long. Both locally-known as well as internationally and nationally recognized artists will be showcasing their work, with a total of 144 artists on display that week.
For those wanting to dip their toes in early, The Arts Council is offering a “Festi-First” program. Patrons who commit to $250 or greater in advance art purchases will receive a complimentary breakfast and an early invitation to the festival, as well as access to special areas with refreshments and snacks and express check-out lanes at all art sales tents.
Local artist Rory Morgan, who will be showcasing in Tent 15C, said “I am incredibly excited to be back at the arts festival, and looking forward to it being the biggest show of my previous years.” Morgan noted he’s kept his gallery in Northpark Mall successful during quarantine by continuing to paint commissions for customers, but that he hopes his festival appearance will drum up even more interest in his work.
In addition to visual art, this year’s festival also features two stages for performing arts jam-packed with performances from diverse artists through all six days; whether it’s indie rock groups like Dinosaur Boyfriend or Bedtime, local celebrities like Lucas Ross or Carter Sampson, Poetry and Chill, Led Zeppelin cover band, or a youth talent competition dubbed “Festivals Got Talent.”
“We’re very excited to be performing again, and getting back to being in front of people and sharing our love of music with everyone,” said Eli Tostado, one of two members of local band Bedtime. “We were supposed to play last spring, but the world went upside down… I think I speak for both of us that we will still be a little nervous.”
For more information, including a detailed listing of food truck menus, featured artists, a venue map and more, visit www.artscouncilokc.com/festival-of-the-arts.